Philadelphia.- by Stavroula P. Kotrotsios
Despite the hustle and bustle of student life, the members of the Federation of Hellenic Student Associations in the Philadelphia region came together on December 6, 2008 to host a fundraiser for the SAE sponsored “Plant Your Roots in Greece” foundation. This is a non-profit organization committed to raising money for the reforestation of areas in Greece destroyed by wildfires. This action was a movement of the youth who held an Inter-collegiate Volleyball Tournament in order to raise money and awareness for this cause. The participating universities included Temple University, Drexel University, St. Josephʼs University, and Villanova University. The leaders of the Hellenic Student Associations from these schools were Ourania Dinoulis, Eleni Cotsarelis, Dino Koutroubas, and Stavroula Kotrotsios. Their cooperation, as well as the help obtained from their board members, was essential to the formulation of this event.
The volleyball tournament was hosted at Villanova University and encompassed four teams. There were 40 individuals playing in the games and 20 by-standers who came to show their support. Every player donated $10 and in the end the fundraiser was able to amass a total of $400 for the foundation, (this is equivalent to the planting of 40 trees). The competition ended in the titles of first place for Drexel, Villanova in second, and St. Joeʼs and Temple in third.
Not only was this an event of benevolence, but it also one of unity. The students at the tournament were given an opportunity to meet their fellow Hellenes from the surrounding universities in the region. This atmosphere of friendship and unity will provide the building blocks for collaboration in future projects. The success of the tournament could not have happened without the commitment of the students in the regional Hellenic Student Associations.
Their love for Greece and pro-active attitudes will surely resonate within the community and inspire others to keep the Greek spirit glowing. In conclusion, I would like to encourage all students of Hellenic decent, or all those interested in Greece, to be active in their communities and realize that when united, we can accomplish great measures.